Every once in awhile, a truly funny comedy hits theaters. Enter Thank you For Smoking
. The satire-infused screenplay was adapted from a Christopher Buckley novel by fledgling indie director Jason Reitman.
Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is a clean-cut, smooth talking lobbyist who could make anything look good – even an industry responsible for more deaths per year than alcohol and firearms combined. The face of Big Tobacco, Nick is making headlines and getting plenty of face-time on TV talk shows.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Attractive reporter Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes) interviews Nick for a story she is compiling on the tobacco industry in America. She gets pretty up close and personal with him though, digging for more than a little extra dirt. Meanwhile, Nick works to halt the efforts of Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), who wants to apply a scull and crossbones poison label to all cigarette packs. The two debate on national TV, and Nick uses his charm to win what turns out to be a riotous war of wit.
A father as well as a businessman, Nick earns the admiration of his son Joey (Cameron Bright), and tries to balance his career and personal ethics. He takes Joey on a business trip to California; then the two hit the road to meet the original Marlboro Man who is now dying of cancer in hopes of offering him some hush money. When Joey questions if this was a right thing to do, dad advises his son that morals should be “flexible.” He also tells Joey that you can always win an argument as long as you make the other person look wrong – it’s that simple.
A comic rollercoaster of a story, Smoking is carried out expertly, minus a few amateurish moments in its filming – the camera shakes and blurs at points, which is not all that uncommon for a dark comedy. The writing in this movie is the strongest I’ve seen in any recent independent, and it cleverly spoofs political and economic themes while still connecting with the characters at a very personable level. And though Holmes gives a standard performance, the rest of the cast, namely Eckhart, shines.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
This movie is not only well worth seeing, but it is worth seeing again and again. In truth, I have not enjoyed a movie as much as I did this one-all year, in fact. You must see it to believe it, because there is no way to describe the laughs that this film is sure to provide.